The 7 Best Apps to Learn Swahili Effectively

Gardenia Reynoso Published on June 11, 2023
Swahili app guide

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Swahili is a language that has gained significant popularity in recent years. Whether you are planning to travel to a country where this language is spoken such as Tanzania, or simply want to learn a new language, finding the right resource to start with can be overwhelming. To help you in your language learning journey, we put together a list of the 9 best apps to learn Swahili. From beginner to advanced learners, these apps offer something for everyone. We’ll explore each of these apps, their unique features, and how they can help you achieve your language learning goals.

Best Overall App

SwahiliPod101 logo
Try SwahiliPod101

Best for Beginners

pimsleur logo
Try Pimsleur

Best for Pronunciation

Ling App logo
Try Ling App

Swahili is a language spoken by over 70 million people worldwide, making it one of the most spoken languages in the world. Chances are, you already know some words or phrases in Swahili. Of course you’ve heard of hakuna matata, but words like jambo and asante are also well-known. The ability to speak Swahili can open up numerous opportunities for individuals seeking to work or study in Africa or for those who wish to engage in cultural exchange programs.

How Long Will It Take You To Learn Swahili?​
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Upper Intermediate
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Upper Intermediate
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Also, Swahili is essential for anyone interested in Tanzanian or Kenyan culture and history. It’s a language that has been used by Africans for years to tell their stories, customs, and traditions. Learning Swahili allows individuals to better understand the African way of life, which can help in breaking down cultural barriers and promoting diversity.

What Are The Best Apps To Learn Swahili?

Learning a new language is challenging, but with the right resources, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. There are several apps available that can help you learn Swahili. I investigated all the apps on this list to see how they can help you.

Take a look at the table below to see the 7 best apps to learn Swahili, and what they are best for. Scroll down to learn more about each one.

Best Overall Swahili AppSwahiliPod101
Best for BeginnersPimsleur
Best for PronunciationLing App
Best for Speaking Practiceitalki
Best for VocabularyDrops
Best for CultureMango Languages
Best Free Swahili AppDuolingo


Best Overall Swahili App

SwahiliPod101 Overview
SwahiliPod101 has hundreds of podcast-style lessons. There are 5 different levels available, so there’s material available for everyone from beginner to advanced learners.
SwahiliPod101 logo
Best for Overall Learning
Price $8/month
Free trial 7 Days
Try SwahiliPod101

SwahiliPod101 is the best overall Swahili app because it has the most complete learning features. It has hundreds of podcast-style lessons and provides plenty of vocabulary learning material such as flashcards, vocabulary lists, word bank, word of the day, a dictionary, and Swahili key phrases.

Another great feature of SwahiliPod101 is the flexibility it offers learners. Learners can choose their own pace and level of difficulty, making it ideal for those who have busy schedules or those who want to learn Swahili in their own time. Moreover, you can access the app from anywhere and at any time, making it a convenient tool for language learning.

One of the best features of SwahiliPod101 is the regular updates to the content. There are new lessons every week! The app also offers an option for you to track your progress and receive instruction and personalized feedback from Swahili teachers.

Key Features

  • Large collection of podcast-style lessons
  • Focus on pronunciation and listening comprehension
  • 100+ Vocabulary Lists, word of the day, flashcards, dictionary, and more


SwahiliPod101 costs $4.00 to $23.00 per month. SwahiliPod101 offers 4 different types of subscriptions: Free, Basic, Premium, and Premium Plus. You can sign up for a free trial that gives you 7-day access to the Premium subscription so you can try its features.


Best for Beginners

Pimsleur Overview
Pimsleur is an audio-based language learning app that focuses on conversation skills. The app uses repetition and a structured curriculum to help you develop your listening and speaking skills.
pimsleur logo
Best for Beginners
Price $14.95/month
Free trial 7 days
Try Pimsleur

The Pimsleur Swahili course is structured to encourage you to speak and respond in Swahili, rather than just memorize vocabulary or grammar rules. Unlike other language-learning programs that rely on reading and writing, Pimsleur’s approach is auditory-based. The course is designed to help you develop your listening and speaking skills through a series of exercises that gradually increase in complexity. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to hold basic conversations in Swahili.

Another aspect of the Pimsleur Swahili course that impressed me was its focus on practical vocabulary. Pimsleur’s course focuses on words and phrases that are commonly used in Swahili-speaking countries. The lessons are designed to take 30 minutes a day so you can learn while you are doing other activities. You can learn more by reading this Pimsleur review.

Key Features

  • Learn grammar by listening, not studying
  • Audio-based lessons
  • Learn about culture during the lessons


Pimsleur lets you try one lesson for free before subscribing. Then, it costs $20.95 per month. The Premium subscription costs $19.95 per month to access one language. You can try Pimsleur with a 7-day free trial to their All Access subscription, which includes all 51+ languages available.

Ling App

Best for Pronunciation

Ling App Overview
Ling App provides a fun and easy way to learn Swahili. It offers interactive exercises and engaging activities that will make your language journey enjoyable and help you learn faster.
Ling App logo
Best for Beginners
Price $8.99/month
Free trial 7 days
Try Ling App

Ling App has a variety of lessons that cover different aspects of the Swahili language, such as grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. The app’s gamification approach, which includes earning badges and points, makes learning Swahili fun and engaging.

The interactive chatbot has a voice recognition feature that helps you practice pronunciation. Ling App also offers personalized learning, which adapts to your learning pace and style. You can also connect with other learners and practice your Swahili skills through conversation. You can learn more in this Ling App review.

Key Features

  • Engaging games and lessons
  • Audio from native speakers
  • Interactive chatbot


Ling App offers a free Basic subscription, but it’s very limited. To access all the features available, a paid subscription costs $8.99 per month, $80.00 for a yearly subscription, and $149.99 for a Lifetime subscription.


Best for Speaking Practice

italki Overview
italki is an online language platform that connects language learners with native speakers for one-on-one lessons online.
italki logo
Best for Speaking Practice
Price Varies
Free trial N/A
Try italki

italki is a useful resource to learn Swahili in a personalized and effective way. There are currently 15 Swahili tutors you can choose from and most of them have high ratings and good reviews. Each tutor has their own profile, which includes their qualifications, teaching style, and availability. This helps you select a tutor that best fits your learning style and schedule.

Another feature of italki is the community aspect of the platform. You can connect with other Swahili learners and native speakers. This feature allows you to practice your Swahili speaking and listening skills in a more casual setting. Moreover, italki’s community section includes articles on Swahili grammar and culture, as well as a Q&A forum where you can ask questions and receive answers from other learners and tutors. You can learn more about the platform in this italki review.

Key Features

  • Customizable 1-on-1 lessons
  • Teachers that fit your budget and schedule
  • Book as many or as few classes as you want


italki’s teachers set their own prices for their lessons and some offer a trial lesson at a discounted price. Swahili lessons start at $5.50 per 30-minute lesson, and the price increases depending on the tutor and the length of the classes.


Best for Vocabulary

Drops Overview
Drops is a vocabulary app that helps you learn new Swahili words quickly and efficiently
Drops language app logo
Best for Vocabulary
Price $13.00/month
Free trial 5 mins/day
Try Drops

Drops is a great app to help you learn Swahili vocabulary. Drops uses high-quality audio and visual cues to help you associate new words with their meanings. The app also comes with a pronunciation guide, which is essential for learning a tonal language like Swahili.

The app has an intuitive and user-friendly interface. It’s designed with a minimalist approach so it’s easy to navigate. The Swahili lessons are presented in a gamified format, and each lesson is broken down into small, bite-sized chunks, which are perfect for those who have busy schedules. You can learn more about the app in this Drops review.

Key Features

  • Fun and engaging lessons
  • Track your progress
  • Short and focused learning sessions


Drops costs $13.00 per month, an annual subscription costs $69.99, or a lifetime subscription costs $159.99. You can try Drops for free for 5 minutes every day.

Mango Languages

Best For Culture

Mango Languages Overview
Mango Languages is a language-learning app that offers a range of interactive lessons, games, and quizzes. It covers a variety of topics like grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.
Mango Languages logo
Best for Culture
Price $7.99/month
Free trial 14 days
Try Mango Languages

The Swahili course on Mango Languages offers a range of learning materials, including vocabulary, grammar, and cultural lessons. The vocabulary lessons are tailored to help you understand common words and phrases that are frequently used in Swahili conversations. The grammar lessons are well organized and cover the essential aspects of Swahili grammar, such as verb conjugation, noun classes, and pronouns. The cultural have valuable insights into the Swahili culture, including customs, traditions, and beliefs.

The app has a feature that lets you record your voice and compare it with native speakers. The Swahili course lessons are well-structured, and the app provides regular assessments to test learners’ understanding of the material. The app also lets you set goals and track your progress. You can learn more about the features in this Mango Languages review.

Key Features

  • Cultural lessons
  • Structured style of the course


You can try three free lessons to see if Mango Languages is a good choice for you. Full access to a single language costs $7.99 per month and access to all languages costs $17.99 per month.


Best Free Swahili App

Duolingo Overview
Duolingo is known for its gamified approach to learning, making it a fun and engaging experience. It has a variety of exercises that include listening, speaking, and writing.
Duolingo logo
Best for Learning for Free
Price Free
Free trial N/A
Try Duolingo

Duolingo is the best free app for learning Swahili. The app will adjust the difficulty level of the exercises based on how well you are doing. For example, if you are struggling with a particular concept, it will provide you with more practice exercises until you master it.

Duolingo also has leaderboards that let you connect with other learners and practice your language skills in a supportive environment. This sense of community can be helpful if you’re learning a language on your own. You can learn more about the app in this Duolingo review.

Key Features

  • Learn progressively and in an organized way
  • Reward system keeps you motivated
  • Complete Swahili course is free!


Duolingo is free, but if you want to use the app without ads, Super Duolingo costs $12.99 per month. A yearly subscription costs $83.99 (or $6.99 per month). There’s also a family package that costs $199.99 per year.

Why You Should Use Apps To Learn Swahili

Using apps to learn Swahili has several advantages. First of all, language apps are convenient and can be accessed from anywhere and at any time. This means that you can fit the lessons around your busy schedule. Some apps use gamification techniques to make learning fun and engaging. They include features like rewards, leaderboards, and streaks that motivate you to practice regularly.

How To Use Apps To Learn Swahili

Creating a study routine is important when using language apps. Learning a new language requires consistency and dedication, and having a set study routine can help you stay on track and make steady progress. You can set aside a specific time each day or a few times per week to study your target language. This will ensure that language learning becomes a part of your daily routine.

Consistency is key when it comes to language learning. Frequent practice can help you retain information better and improve your language skills faster. It’s recommended to use language apps for short study sessions throughout the day instead of one long session. Language apps should be used along with other resources such as textbooks, podcasts, and language exchange programs. This will give you a well-rounded learning experience and expose you to different aspects of the language.

Best Apps To Learn Swahili: Final Thoughts

There are several apps available to help you learn Swahili. The best overall app is SwahiliPod101, which offers a comprehensive approach to language learning. The best free app is Duolingo, which is ideal for learners on a budget. Whether you prefer a visual approach, a focus on speaking skills, or a personalized lesson with a tutor, there is an app on this list that will suit your needs.

Best Apps To Learn Swahili: FAQ

What is the best free app to learn Swahili?

Duolingo is the best free app to learn Swahili. It offers a complete Swahili course that covers all aspects of the language, from grammar to vocabulary and pronunciation. It’s designed to be interactive and adaptive, meaning that it adjusts to your level and pace of learning. Duolingo also gives you instant feedback on your progress, which helps you track your improvement and identify areas that need more attention.

What app can I use to learn Swahili?

SwahiliPod101 is the best Swahili app overall because it has the most complete resources to help you achieve fluency fast. Duolingo is a great way to start learning Swahili because it’s easy and free to use.

Does Babbel have Swahili?

No, Babbel does not have Swahili, but there are plenty of other options, such as Pimsleur, if you prefer to learn by listening. Drops is a good option if you like interactive learning and want to grow your vocabulary, and italki is best if you prefer 1-on-1 lessons. Swahilipod101 is the best overall Swahili app because you can find many resources on the platform.

How long does it take to learn Swahili fluently?

According to the US Department of State, it takes approximately 900 hours of study for a native English speaker to become proficient in Swahili. But there are many factors that can influence the time it takes to learn Swahili such as your language learning ability and the amount of time and effort you put in.

Try this Fluency Calculator to see how long it will take you to master Swahili.

Gardenia Reynoso

Gardenia Reynoso is a content writer and translator from Lima, Peru. She loves connecting with people from other cultures and learning new languages. She had the opportunity to travel to different countries and received a scholarship to work and study in South Korea. She also enjoys dancing and playing the piano.

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